Online information for parents caring for their premature baby at home: A focus group study and systematic web search

Fiona Alderdice, Mary Gargan, Emma McCall, Linda Franck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
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Online resources are a source of information for parents of premature babies when their baby is discharged from hospital.

To explore what topics parents deemed important after returning home from hospital with their premature baby and to evaluate the quality of existing websites that provide information for parents post‐discharge.

In stage 1, 23 parents living in Northern Ireland participated in three focus groups and shared their information and support needs following the discharge of their infant(s). In stage 2, a World Wide Web (WWW) search was conducted using Google, Yahoo and Bing search engines. Websites meeting pre‐specified inclusion criteria were reviewed using two website assessment tools and by calculating a readability score. Website content was compared to the topics identified by parents in the focus groups.

Five overarching topics were identified across the three focus groups: life at home after neonatal care, taking care of our family, taking care of our premature baby, baby's growth and development and help with getting support and advice. Twenty‐nine sites were identified that met the systematic web search inclusion criteria. Fifteen (52%) covered all five topics identified by parents to some extent and 9 (31%) provided current, accurate and relevant information based on the assessment criteria.

Parents reported the need for information and support post‐discharge from hospital. This was not always available to them, and relevant online resources were of varying quality. Listening to parents needs and preferences can facilitate the development of high‐quality, evidence‐based, parent‐centred resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalHealth Expectations
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2017


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